Appeal brings new twist in link road saga

Otters on the river Lune
Otters on the river Lune

There are five reasons why the decision to grant permission for the Heysham M6 Link Road was “wrong in law”, according to objectors.

Transport Solutions for Lancaster and Morecambe (TSLM), said that there were “very substantial grounds on which the decision should be challenged”.

It said it had already had many pledges of financial support for the review, and that support made the challenge a viable one.

The five reasons are:

The scheme is not a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project, under the Planning Act, so should not have been dealt with by IPC/NID;

Consultation was inadequate because LCC ruled out discussion of the principle of the scheme and the route chosen;

National Policy Statements on ports and nuclear power were used to justify the scheme, but were not relevant in the absence of any definite plans;

The Western Route was wrongly dismissed, without going through the appropriate procedures;

LCC failed to carry out surveys of otters, a European Protected Species, as they were legally obliged to do, so failed to assess potential harm to them.

Mr Gate said: “There is still so much opposition to this damaging scheme. We owe it to the many people who have objected strongly to follow the legal advice we are receiving.

“The decision should be tested, and our challenge will test it.”

Steven McCreesh, project director Heysham to M6 Link, said: “The county council is very disappointed that objectors to the link road have asked for a Judicial Review as this will only serve to delay and increase the costs of the scheme.

“Whilst the Judicial Review is against the decision of the Secretary of State for Transport and not the county council, the county council will seek to have the case expedited and take an active part in defending the proceedings.”

The challenge is expected to cost the council £25,000.